Ian Bannen

Ian Bannen


Birth Place
United Kingdom
June 29, 1928
November 03, 1999
Cause of Death
Automobile Accident


Scottish-born actor Ian Bannen began his career in Ireland in 1947 and first appeared on the London stage as Captain Rickman in "Prisoners of War" (1955). Closely identified in England with the plays of Eugene O'Neill, he portrayed Hickey in "The Iceman Cometh" (1957) and Jamie Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1958), later reprising the role of Jamie for 1983 productions of "A ...

Family & Companions

Marilyn Salisbury
Married in 1978.


"You can use tricks on stage, but never on screen. There's nowhere to hide from the camera." --Ian Bannen, quoted in PR for "The Courier" (1989)


Scottish-born actor Ian Bannen began his career in Ireland in 1947 and first appeared on the London stage as Captain Rickman in "Prisoners of War" (1955). Closely identified in England with the plays of Eugene O'Neill, he portrayed Hickey in "The Iceman Cometh" (1957) and Jamie Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (1958), later reprising the role of Jamie for 1983 productions of "A Moon for the Misbegotten" in London and NYC. Bannen made his feature debut in "Battle Hell" (1956), acquitted himself well in "The Risk/Suspect" (1960) and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination as the cynical plane crash survivor in Robert Aldrich's "Flight of the Phoenix" (1965). His suave, dark good looks were fully utilized as Natalie Wood's stuffy husband in the lightweight "Penelope" (1967) and allowed him to be cast against type as a child molester in Sidney Lumet's taut "The Offense" (1973). As he aged into character roles, Bannen found success in a variety of roles from a unscrupulous religious in the underrated "Lamb" (1985) to the cantankerous grandfather in John Boorman's autobiographical "Hope and Glory" (1987). In addition, he made an indelible impression as The Leper in Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" (1995). The Ealingesque comedy "Waking Ned Devine" (1998) also provided a fine showcase for David Kelly and him as two brothers who concoct an impersonation scam after discovering that their old friend Ned Devine has died clutching the winning ticket to the Irish Lottery.

Bannen is perhaps more familiar to American viewers for his extensive television work, both for American and British networks (airing primarily on PBS in the USA). After playing McDuff in an NBC version of "Macbeth" (1960), he later had the romantic leads in remakes of "Johnny Belinda" (ABC, 1967, opposite Mia Farrow) and "Jane Eyre" (NBC, 1971, with Susannah York). Well-cast as Amos in the Franco Zeffirelli's 1971 NBC miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth," the actor fully demonstrated his versatility undertaking a portrayal of Adolph Hitler in "The Gathering Storm," a 1974 NBC entry of "Hallmark Hall of Fame." For the BBC, Bannen acted in the highly acclaimed "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (1979), starring Alec Guinness, and later in "Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" (1981) and "Ashenden" (1992). In addition to his appearances in "Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception" (NBC, 1990) and the TNT miniseries "The Sound and the Silence" (1993), Bannen's recent performances on PBS have been in "The Politician's Wife" ("Masterpiece Theatre," 1996), "Original Sin" ("Mystery!," 1997) and "The Treaty" (1998).



Cast (Feature Film)

Taliesin Jones (2001)
To Walk With Lions (1999)
Best (1999)
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
Jackie O'Shea
Original Sin (1997)
Braveheart (1995)
A Pin for the Butterfly (1994)
Damage (1992)
Edward Lloyd
Crossing the Line (1990)
Matt Mason
Ghost Dad (1990)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990)
La Partita (1989)
The Lady And The Highwayman (1989)
George's Island (1989)
Captain Waters
Streghe (1989)
The Courier (1988)
Hope and Glory (1987)
Grandfather George
Lamb (1986)
Brother Benedict
Defence of the Realm (1986)
Dennis Markham
The Prodigal (1984)
Gorky Park (1983)
Gandhi (1982)
Eye Of The Needle (1981)
Night Crossing (1981)
Josef Keller
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
John Keller
The Inglorious Bastards (1977)
Sweeney (1976)
Bite the Bullet (1975)
The Gathering Storm (1974)
Identikit (1974)
The Voyage (1974)
The Offense (1973)
The Mackintosh Man (1973)
The Deserter (1971)
Jane Eyre (1971)
St John Rivers
La Spina Dorsale del Diavola (1971)
Fright (1971)
Too Late the Hero (1970)
Private Thornton
Lock Up Your Daughters (1969)
The Sailor From Gibraltar (1967)
Penelope (1966)
James B. Elcott
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
Mister Moses (1965)
Rotten to the Core (1965)
The Hill (1965)
Staff-Sgt. Charlie Harris
Station Six--Sahara (1964)
Psyche 59 (1964)
Macbeth (1963)
She Didn't Say No! (1962)
Peter Howard
The World in My Pocket (1962)
The Risk (1961)
Alan Andrews
A French Mistress (1960)
Behind The Mask (1958)
Alan Crabtree
Miracle In Soho (1957)
Private's Progress (1956)
Private Horrocks

Cast (Special)

The Politician's Wife (1996)
The Common Pursuit (1992)
Uncle Vanya (1991)
Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1981)
Terror From Within (1975)
Frank Dean
Death in Deep Water (1975)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Treaty (1998)
The Sound and the Silence (1993)
Melville Bell
Ashenden (1992)
Jesus of Nazareth (Do Not Use) (1977)

Life Events


Stage debut, "Armlet of Jade" at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, Ireland


Performed with the Memorial Theatre Company in Stratford-on-Avon (now the Royal Shakespeare Company)


London stage debut, "Prisoners of War"


Film acting debut in "Battle Hell"


First West End appearance, Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge", directed by Peter Brook


Starred in "Wolf Pack" for British TV's "Armchair Theatre"


Portrayed McDuff in NBC-TV version of "Macbeth", which ultimately received a theatrical release


Played title role in "Hamlet", as well as Mercutio ("Romeo and Juliet") and Iago opposite Sir John Gielgud in a production of "Othello" (directed by Franco Zeffirelli), all for Memorial Theatre Company


Starred in first production outside of South Africa of Athol Fugard's "The Blood Knot"


Played one of five love-starved men vying for the attention of Carroll Baker in "Station Six-Sahara"


Earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Robert Aldrich's "The Flight of the Phoenix"


Won acclaim for his efforts in Sidney Lumet's "The Hill"


Starred opposite Mia Farrow in TV remake of "Johnny Belinda" (ABC)


Acted the part of St. John Rivers in NBC-TV version of "Jane Eyre"


Portrayed Amos in Zeffirelli's "Jesus of Nazareth", an NBC miniseries


Appeared as Slade in "The Mackintosh Man", starring Paul Newman


Essayed the role of Adolph Hitler in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production, "The Gathering Storm"


Acted opposite Alec Guinness in the acclaimed BBC serial "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"; aired in USA as part of PBS' "Great Performances" in 1980


Appeared in "Eye of the Needle", starring Donald Sutherland


Scored a critical hit in the London premiere of Brian Friel's "Translations"


Had small role as a policeman in Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi"


US stage debut, Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten"


Played in David Drury's taut political thriller "Defence of the Realm"


Offered a marvelous turn as the cantakerous grandfather in John Boorman's "Hope and Glory"


Portrayed Secret Service Controller 'R' in four part drama serial "Ashenden", based on short stories by Somerset Maugham; aired on A&E in 1992


Appeared in David Mamet adaptation of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya", directed by Gregory Mosher for PBS' "Great Performances"


Acted the part of The Leper in Mel Gibson's "Braveheart"


Portrayed Prime Minister David Lloyd George in "The Treaty" (PBS), an account of the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty in 1921


Starred opposite David Kelly in "Waking Ned Devine", a folksy Irish comedy in the tradition of Ealing Studios


Wrapped "To Walk With Lions", the true story of drifter Tony Fitzjohn who lived with George and Joy Adamson and became a leader in the worldwide conservation movement; portrayed Terrence Adamson


Movie Clip

From Beyond The Grave (1973) -- (Movie Clip) Sausages Again? First sketch of the home life of Ian Bannen as downtrodden London middle manager Lowe, who bought shoelaces from the will-be villain, in the second segment (titled An Act Of Kindness) of the horror anthology, carrying little weight with his wife (Diana Dors as Mabel) or son (John O'Farrell), the first feature from the later Hollywood-based prolific TV director Kevin Connor, in From Beyond The Grave, 1973, from stories by Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes.
From Beyond The Grave (1973) -- (Movie Clip) I Bet You Was Decorated Ian Bannen as henpecked Lowe has his second meeting with panhandling disabled vet Jim (Donald Pleasence), who flatters him as a military man, inspiring him to return to the shop, greeted by the proprietor Peter Cushing, to obtain the medal he earlier coveted, in the horror anthology From Beyond The Grave, 1973.
Flight Of The Phoenix, The (1965) -- (Movie Clip) Eat The Monkey Brit officer Harris (Peter Finch) organizes, pilot Towns (James Stewart) his ally, accountant Dan Duryea frets, Ernest Borgnine surrenders his radio, Hardy Kruger interferes, Richard Attenborough, Christian Marquand, George Kennedy, Ian Bannen in the mix, in The Flight Of The Phoenix, 1965.
Flight Of The Phoenix, The (1965) -- (Movie Clip) Send Up Some Smoke Stranded in the Libyan desert, survivors George Kennedy and Ian Bannen try to dissuade Alex Montoya from joining Harris (Peter Finch) to seek water, pilot Towns (James Stewart) and Moran (Richard Attenborough) seeing them off, in Robert Aldrich's The Flight Of The Phoenix, 1965.
Hill, The (1965) -- (Movie Clip) A-1 Fit For Punishment At a British military stockade In WWII North Africa, Sgt. Williams (Ian Hendry) works out the prisoners (Sean Connery, Ossie Davis, Jack Watson, Roy Kinnear and Alfred Lynch as Stevens), and Harris (Ian Bannen) fails to persuade commandant Wilson (Harry Andrews) to ease up, in The Hill, 1965.
Fright (1971) -- (Movie Clip) You Can't Spell Psychotic The doc (John Gregson) is following up with the cops, escaped killer Brian (Ian Bannen) is confusing traumatized sitter Amanda (Susan George) with his ex-wife Helen (Honor Blackman) who, with husband Jim (George Cole) is attempting a rescue, in Fright, 1971, directed by Peter Collinson.
Fright (1971) -- (Movie Clip) I'm Just A Neighbor Baby-sitter Amanda (Susan George) has just booted her grabby boyfriend, but creepy things keep happening, when Ian Bannen appears, who must be the escaped psychotic ex-husband Helen and Jim (Honor Blackman, George Cole) have been talking about, in Fright, 1971.
Man In A Cocked Hat -- (Movie Clip) No Lavatories The newly arrived young king (Ian Bannen) baffles the Brits (Terry-Thomas, Thorley Walters) then his own Prime Minister Amphibulos (Peter Sellers) in the Boulting brothers' Man In A Cocked Hat (a.k.a. Carlton-Browne Of The F.O.), 1959.



James Bannen
Clare Bannen


Marilyn Salisbury
Married in 1978.



"You can use tricks on stage, but never on screen. There's nowhere to hide from the camera." --Ian Bannen, quoted in PR for "The Courier" (1989)